oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Towards a regional protection of human rights in Africa: the African Charter on Human and Peoples' rights

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Despite its many limitations, the adoption of the African Charter is a commendable step in the direction of greater involvement and commitment by the 0 A U in the field of human rights. The present African Charter is innovative in many ways. The impact of its provisions, however, is limited by the widespread use of claw back clauses. This tends to give the states too much autonomy which may allow them to violate human rights with impunity. This may have been made with the intention of attracting many African states to ratify the African Charter, which they may otherwise have been reluctant to do. The African Commission which is envisaged by the charter will be conciliatory rather than an adjudicatory body. The success of this venture is not yet certain. The very fact, however, that African states have adopted this strategy is indicative of the fact that they are not unconcerned about the violation of human rights. The African Charter is important because it is an African initiative.

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